/blog/
Blog | neighbourly

Becoming a neighbourly society - the time is now

Bus

Now, more than ever, we’re hearing about the huge, ever-expanding gaps in UK public services that are going to need an army of new volunteers if the provision is to continue. Volunteers Week 2017 has rightly brought more of this crisis to our attention – after all, the week is (or should be) as much about recruiting new volunteers as it is celebrating and thanking existing ones.

As this Guardian article states, volunteers are now running libraries, maintaining parks and staffing hospital reception desks due to austerity cuts, and whilst this is worth and estimated £23bn a year in economic value, it’s still nowhere near enough. And the extent of charities’ work in delivering frontline services keeps on increasing. Included in the essential services run by the charitable sector are ambulance services, housing, health & social care, probation, community transport, mental health and search and rescue – to name a few.

The dream – where neighbourly communities are built with residents, companies, local government teams, charities and community projects, all working in unison like a well-oiled machine – seems ever further from reach. Delivering resources into places that they are needed, building funds where they are depleted and diverting helping hands to where they can help shouldn’t be so difficult. But it is.

Many of these problems could be helped if we, as a whole society, could more easily draw upon our neighbourly values and lend support within our means to ensure everyone not just survives but thrives. We are given some glimpses of hope – The Charities Aid Foundation’s annual UK Giving report, for instance, says that 89% of people “did something charitable” in 2016, including volunteering, which is a huge hike from 79% in 2015.

Official figures are less encouraging though. People reporting having formally volunteered at least once a month – through a group, club or organisation – has flatlined since the turn of the century, standing in the last Cabinet Office survey of 2015-16 at 14.2 million, or 27% of the adult population. Informal volunteering – helping people who are not relatives and doing so not through a group, club or organisation, at least monthly – stood at 18 million, or 34% of the population, in 2015-16. These numbers have stayed broadly unchanged since 2000.

But perhaps it is not a lack of desire, rather a logistical minefield, that stops more of us from contributing. What are we permitted to do? How should we organise ourselves?

And what about companies in all of this? The Guardian article states that ‘charities will have to do much of the heavy lifting on this themselves’ – the 2015 legislation promise of three days’ paid volunteering leave annually for all public-sector workers and those private companies with 250+ staff, remains unfulfilled (and isn’t in the Tory 2017 programme). Regardless of legislation, many businesses have already bought in to the well-documented ‘employee volunteering business case’ and there has been an astronomic increase in UK companies (large ones at least) engaging in some form of employee volunteering. However, The London Benchmarking Group reported that the average proportion of employees engaging in employee volunteering in their member firms was 19 per cent last year, but often uptake is much lower.

There’s clearly a multitude of barriers. Whilst participating companies do advertise the opportunities, it isn’t always enough to turn employees into volunteers. They need to understand what they can learn, the impact they can have and how it will make them feel. Some companies we speak to say they have tried to make this work but their employees felt they didn't want to take the entitlement because they didn't know what opportunities were available and what the business really wanted them to do with the days.

But we think there’s another major factor at play – and one that is not just related to the giving of time. Again and again we come across a snag with company contributions. VAT regulations on product donations, Health and Safety regulations around volunteering, not to mention the complexities of insurance. And of course, the legislation associated with passing on food to those in need, makes these human things extremely worrisome (and in some cases a complete blocker) for the companies that do want to contribute.

The Good Samaritans Act is an interesting concept. It takes many forms across the globe, but if you look at the US, where all 50 states have some type of Good Samaritan law, individuals currently have protection when they lend a hand in an emergency. Put simply, if you see someone in trouble and you stop to help, but inadvertently do more harm than good, you are protected from being sued.

Could the principles of this act be extended more broadly in the UK to companies to take some of the shackles off? Can we become a society where if we see a need and we want to help, then we can have a go – being sensible in our decisions and careful and respectful in delivery of course – but free from the fear of repercussions?

Something has to change, for sure. Let’s have a look at Edelman’s 17th annual trust and credibility survey: ‘We are experiencing a total collapse in trust in the institutions that shape our society.’ Trust in the UK is at a historic low at 29 per cent. There is an unprecedented feeling that life is not as fair as it used to be. And sadly, only one in nine of the UK population think that the system still works.

Business needs to lead, and be free to do so. The rewards could be huge – our recent research showed employer led volunteering as resoundingly positive (7+ out of 10 - from the individuals taking part). Those who volunteered with their company trust other people and companies more than those who haven’t, and are more likely to recommend their company to a friend. On top of this, the research shows they are happier and more satisfied with life.

Clearly Marks and Spencer get it: this week 7000 M&S colleagues from over 650 stores and offices will be donating their time and skills to over 700 local community projects. Their new Plan A 2025 #SpenditWell community transformation programme will support 1,000 communities, help 10 million people live happier, healthier lives and convert M&S into a zero-waste business.

There is, very definitely, huge untapped potential, a willingness to contribute and a glut of resources. Take a look at our Twitter feed if you ever need a reminder of the undying spirit of neighbourliness that defines our communities. Or this story of supermarket workers from Sainsbury’s donating food to police officers in the recent London Bridge attacks.

Let’s make the fabric of our society and the ownership of it a shared challenge where we all have and equal hand in helping it flourish.

Jane

Content Manager

Jun 8, 2017

How to write a compelling project story

typing

Once upon a time, a charity like yours decided to set up a profile on Neighbourly.

What is it about storytelling that grabs our attention? Well, we’ve been telling stories for thousands of years; they’re more memorable than facts, activate more of our brains and make us twice as generous when it comes to donating.

So it begs the question – are you telling a story about your charity, and if so, what story are you telling?

When businesses and potential supporters arrive at your project page, they’ll probably head straight for your description to understand exactly what your organisation (or project) is about. This could be the make or break moment when they try to determine whether your cause is something that they want to align with.

You could probably write pages and pages about your organisation and the background of your project, but writing a compelling project story means distilling it down to its essence. Here are some ideas on engaging supporters with your organisation's story.

 

Why should people support you?

As someone close to your charity, you can probably think of plenty of reasons why people should support your organisation. Start by noting these down, as this will help tell your story.

 

Consider starting off with a specific anecdote

There’s a reason why many public speakers kick off with a personal anecdote – as humans, we’re wired to hear them! It also helps us to relate to and empathise with a scenario. For example, a story of someone suffering from homelessness might begin with redundancy, divorce or other negative life event that could happen to anyone.

 

What story would you like to tell?

You might depict a fictional person that represents your ‘average’ service user, or a real person that experienced true transformation thanks to your organisation. Perhaps that person is a volunteer, or you might want to explore the story of how your group came to fruition. Regardless of what story you choose, make it feel personal - your supporters are influenced more by their emotions than rationality.

 

How to tell a story

Traditionally, the story arc is a three-act structure: setup, confrontation and resolution. A good way to break that down is to introduce your character, a challenge they need to overcome, what action they took with the help of your charity (and donors), and finally the impact this has on their life.

 

Back your story up with facts

Once you’ve explored the individual’s story, zoom out and illustrate the trends at large. How many people are affected by this problem? Is the situation getting worse? What does the future look like for those affected if nothing is done?

You may have already introduced the great work your organisation does in the story at the beginning, but again, you can broaden the information out. How many people are you helping? How is that impacting society? What kind of future are you working towards?

 

Be specific how support will help

If you’re raising funds or rallying volunteers on Neighbourly, share exactly what this support will achieve, both in practical terms (such as renovating a space) and in terms of impact. This might be making your centre more pleasant for beneficiaries to be in, but also enabling you to help even more people.

 

Consider the person reading about your project

Why should they help your organisation rather than another one tackling the same issue? Why now? Remember that both people and businesses are looking to help causes that reflect their own worldview, so be clear on what your vision is.

Also, use language that your audience will understand. Your supporters might be emotionally engaged with your cause, but not an expert on the subject. Avoid jargon and always try to explain things in the simplest manner possible.

 

Get inspired

It’s always helpful to take inspiration from how other charities choose to tell their story. Take a look at the other projects looking for support on neighbourly.


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.


 

Jane

Content Manager

Dec 19, 2016

The simple things that make a huge difference

Arlington_tree

It’s that time of year again – the mince pies arrive in the shops, the decorations go up and the tree is decked with shiny baubles. For most of us this is such simple pleasure and something we probably take for granted.

Here at Neighbourly we get to hear so many incredible stories about the simple things making such a huge difference to people’s lives. Toys for children in hospitals, a lunch out for people who live alone - the things which cost very little, but mean so much. One such story that caught my eye recently was the Christmas Tree for Arlington project that came onto the Neighbourly website in early December.

The Arlington Hostel in Camden, which opened over a hundred years ago in 1905, helps homeless visitors to achieve independence and re-integrate within the community. They support people to develop their self-confidence and self-esteem, forming partnerships with organisations from the wider community and provide activities and opportunities to aid their recovery and help their well-being both physical and mental.

Their simple request was for a Christmas Tree, knowing that it would make a huge difference to their visitors' lives. A tree would also make the hostel a more welcoming place over the Christmas period.

In my eyes, it’s just not Christmas without a tree, so Team Neighbourly decided to donate some money to the Arlington Hostel to make sure that it felt as homely and festive as possible for their guests and visitors. The tree is now up and looking great! We know that it will bring some happiness to the visitors of the hostel over the festive period, and that in turn makes up happy too.

The hostel is also looking for extra donations of presents, clothing and bedding to help them over the Christmas period. If you feel that you could help them in any way, please get in touch with us here at Neighbourly (hello@neighbourly.com) or speak to someone at the hostel.

The simplest of gestures really can make such a difference - Merry Christmas!


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

Sophie Cook

Community Manager

Dec 19, 2016

If you're a local charity - thanks for all you do

LoveTeddy

Christmas is coming, and it’s time to put a penny in your local charity’s hat. 

All over the UK, foodbanks, children’s clubs and many, many more will be helping out people having a tough time over Christmas, spreading some much needed Yuletide goodwill in their community.

Research from the Small Charities Coalition and TSB last year found that over half of us think that local charities play an important role in the community, yet only one in 10 (13%) can name at least two local charities in their area, and only one in 10 (14%) help their local community by fundraising for local causes.

If you’re one of these wonderful charities, thank you for all you do, and let’s see if we can help you unlock the support of your communities.

At Neighbourly we want to know what you need.  We’re putting together campaigns like Fund A Fridge to find out what charities are struggling with and help raise awareness for them within their local communities. 

This campaign came from research we did with 200 food charities, who told us that they could do more if they had access to a fridge or freezer to store food safely. This is particularly important for charities who make use of food surplus provided through schemes such as Neighbourly Food, which connects supermarkets with local charities. 

We also know from this research there are times of the year - like Christmas - where there is much greater demand, but it’s harder to get volunteers and additional funds. We want to make life a bit easier, reducing the administration and giving more time to concentrate on supporting people, so projects on Neighbourly can list what they need and set up volunteering events. 

And we know at this time of the year it’s difficult to cut through the noise and get your message across, so Beth and Jane have put together hints and tips on how to best tell and promote your story to your community.  

We’ve got willing individuals and companies who want to help, with their time, support and in kind giving.  Find out how to join our movement with our ‘starter guide’ and go to neighbourly.com see how we can help.

Oh, and, Merry Christmas!


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

Steve Haines

Head of Community Engagement

Dec 16, 2016

Bringing your project story to life through photos

girl_photo

It’s an old proverb that says, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and marketers have certainly cottoned on to this trend. In short, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text, and content with visuals gets 94% more views.

                                                                                   

We know that charitable giving is more likely an emotional response rather than rational logic, and visual mediums like photos are helpful to invoke that emotion.

 

The good news is that you don’t need technical equipment to take great photos – your smartphone is perfectly adequate and available to you most of the time! Taking your own photos can often provide a much more insightful and authentic representation of your organisation than even the most professional stock photos.

 

The aim really is about taking better images – how do you take capture your mission in a photo? How do you get people to feel something about your organisation in an instant? Not everyone will get to visit your organisation or be there with you on the front-line, so consider this an opportunity to give outsiders a window into what you do.

 

You can include pictures on your project and fundraising pages on Neighbourly to help bring your story to life. Here are some ideas on what to capture with your pictures to attract more support.

 

Try a mixture of planned and spontaneous shots 

Think about what story you’d like to capture and what shots you’d like to try before you get your smartphone or camera out. Perhaps you have particular beneficiaries in mind that you’d like to involve in portraits, or you want to get some snaps at an event.

 

Don’t be afraid to capture something unexpected on the day also. You can experiment and discard them later if they didn’t work out how you intended – but you might be capturing a vital part of the story that you hadn’t considered before.

 

Take plenty 

We live in a digital world where we’re no longer limited by the amount of film we have. Get creative and allow yourself to play. Try taking a portrait of a service user, and then take some of them interacting in the space, and see which communicates more powerfully.

 

Include humans in your photo 

Ideally, you want those who look at your photograph to be emotionally moved by it, and having people in your photo adds that crucial layer. You might have a beautifully kept garden, but having your service users interacting with it will be the element that transforms your photo. Experiment with bringing another person (or group) into the frame, and see how that affects the dynamic of the photo.

 

Even if your organisation is an animal charity, you can include photos of an employee interacting with the animals, or a family with their new pet.


Food_kitchen

 

Tell your story with one or more photos 

Your photo can still tell a story in just one frame. The first step is to identify what your community’s story is, and try to capture those elements within the picture.

 

To expand your story across several photos, consider contrasting images. Try capturing the realities of life for people before using your service and during or after. How have their circumstances and emotions changed?

 

Make your subjects feel comfortable 

If you’re doing posed photographs, help your subjects feel at ease by explaining in advance what you are doing, and what the photos will be used for. When shooting, try to encourage the emotion you are trying to capture – if you want a broad smile, for example, see if you can get them to laugh!  

 

Avoid stereotypical images 

There are plenty of photos on the web of people standing in a group looking chummy. Try to capture some real interaction between them, or the ‘doing’ element of your project instead.

 

Also, consider how you might capture something that isn’t immediately visual. For example, the “headclutcher” is often used to depict mental health, yet most people surveyed didn’t think this accurately represented what it’s actually like to have a mental health issue. If in doubt, ask some of your beneficiaries who are in a good place to advise. They might have ideas of their own.

 

Don’t be afraid to get close                                                                                             

It can be tempting to stand back to avoid interfering in the action, but close ups can really capture facial expressions and emotions that might not be as poignant far away.


SSG_child

                                                                                                                     

Ask others for their opinion

Which pictures make you feel something? Which ones tell your story best? Ask a colleague or even someone outside the organisation to see which photos “speak” to people the most.

 

Upload your images to your neighbourly project page, and be sure to share it with your networks.


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.



Jane

Content Manager

Dec 5, 2016

Fund A Fridge - our campaign to help unlock millions more meals

FAFAubergine

Today is #givingtuesday… a day all about giving, not shopping. So here at Neighbourly we're launching a new campaign to help our remarkable community food projects do even more to support those facing food poverty.

Fund A Fridge has been designed to help food charities tackle food waste and hunger in the UK by raising funds for a fridge or freezer:

  • More than 8 million people struggle to put food on the table
  • There's a potential 270,000 tonnes of edible surplus food per year that isn't being redistributed
  • At least a third of food charities don't have the cold storage needed to take more surplus
  • By improving charities’ ability to safely store chilled or fresh goods, more good food could be given to the people who need it
  • Action could help unlock 360 million meals still destined for waste


We're calling for communities to unite in the fight against food waste and take action by donating to a local cause at the front line of tackling food poverty.

The campaign has set a target of raising £30,000 from individuals and businesses. Money raised through the campaign will give up to 100 food charities access to funds for buying a new fridge/freezer or to be connected with a local team offering a refurbished one.


FAFKitchen

The campaign page and links to all the participating charities are here: neighbourly.com/fundafridge

Many people, projects and companies are now taking action to address food waste and that's fantastic, but there's plenty more to do. Helping communities to help themselves by providing fridges is a simple fix that can unlock millions more meals for hungry people.

Please join in, spread the word and do what you can :-)


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.



Sources:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/may/06/more-than-8-million-in-uk-struggle-to-put-food-on-table-survey-says
http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/how-grocery-supply-chain-can-save-%C2%A3millions-tackling-food-waste

Nick Davies

Founder

Nov 29, 2016

How to create a fundraising page on Neighbourly

Donate

Project pages on Neighbourly can now be used for fundraising - and both companies and individuals can support these campaigns. Setting up your fundraising page takes no time at all. Here’s how.


Am I eligible?

As long as your project is for a registered charity or CIC, you can apply to receive donations from members of the public via Neighbourly.


Who can donate, and how?

Companies can ‘pledge’ to projects on Neighbourly and then make an offline donation. Individuals are able to make card donations, right there and then.


How do I get started?

To get started you'll need to have a Neighbourly account, and once you're logged in, create your first project page, making sure you fill in all the sections of the form. Please be sure to include your registered charity number on your project page as this makes the approval process quicker. Also include your Gift Aid number, if applicable, as donors will be offered the option to include a Gift Aid declaration as part of their donation.

It's worth mentioning on your main project page what you're fundraising for and what the money will be spent on, but there is more space to expand on this when you create your first fundraising 'pot' - more on that below. Save your project to publish it on the website.


How do I request card donations?

1. Make sure you are logged in to neighbourly.com 

2. Find your project page by clicking on your profile (top right), then selecting 'dashboard'. Click on the 'Projects' tab, followed by the 'Managing' tab. 

3. Click on your chosen project tile and press the 'edit' button at the top of the project page

4. Scroll down about half way and make sure the box ‘I’d like to receive donations via credit card payments from individuals’ is ticked. This will send a request to us for approval, and we’ll normally come back to you within three working days - usually sooner.

5. The next step is to make sure your payment account is set up and ready to receive donations. Just below the tick box mentioned above there is a ‘Connect to Stripe’ button which will direct you to set up an account with our payment provider. Click on this to either connect an existing account or set up a new one.


How do I set up my fundraising page?

It's easy! Once you've received a message from us that your project is approved, click on the ‘Fundraising’ tab on the project page and press the blue ‘Create fundraising pot’ button.

Fill in the form with a description, your fundraising goal and include an engaging image. This is your opportunity to tell people why they should donate. What work does your charity do, and why is it so important? How does this particular programme help? Why is it urgent now, rather than next year?

You can choose your start and end dates by clicking on ‘Show advanced options’ and input your dates. You can also include an optional deadline countdown on the fundraising pot by ticking the box next to this option. Bringing a sense of urgency may help drive donations.

Press save and your pot will be live on your fundraising tab, unless you’ve chosen to hide it until your future start date.


create_pot2


How do I get donations?

Share the page often with your own followers and supporters to spread the word. You can do this through social media, websites, emails and word of mouth in the same way you promote your project page or other appeals. Any number of companies and individuals can pledge to support a fundraising pot, which means you could potentially receive contributions from a number of sources.


pot


How do I receive payment?

Stripe will process donation payments, which will generally be made on a 7-day rolling basis. You’ll set up and manage your Stripe account directly with them. They will ask for authorisation from you for payments to and from of your account (the 'from' request is only for very rare cases where a donation has to be refunded due to error or card holder query).

Stripe has comprehensive pre-payment verification to minimise this as much as possible. Donors will only be able to cancel a donation if they contact us within 48 hours after it is authorised on the site. After this time, they would need to contact you directly to request a refund, which will be at your discretion.


Are there any fees?

We charge a small transaction fee on every donation made to cover the costs incurred. This is currently 5% of the gross donation, exclusive of any Gift Aid. Fees are deducted automatically through Stripe before donations are credited to your account. There are no additional subscription fees.


How do I keep the momentum going?

Your project page is your ‘hub’ for updating on all your activity and campaigns. Have you reached the half way mark? Shout about it! Have you got some great stories that might drive up those valuable donations? Share them! Feel free to set up multiple fundraising pots for different campaigns that you want to run - there's no limit.


Need help with your fundraising pots?

Contact us at hello@neighbourly.com


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

Jane

Content Manager

Nov 17, 2016

Using social media to skyrocket your fundraising campaign

twitter-social-media

Your fundraising project is amazing – it’ll help so many more people benefit from your charity’s good work, and now people need to know about it! Social media happens to be one effective megaphone, with the potential to boost fundraising results massively. It’s not surprising when Twitter boasts some 310 million monthly users and half the world’s online users are logging into Facebook.

Not only is that a lot of potential donors to tap into, but these marketing tools are also totally free. Not all charities have the budget for a designated team or even individual to devote to social media efforts, so the below tips should be fairly easy to implement.

 

The Basics

Before you even start tweeting, here are a few things to get to grips with:


Make social sharing super easy 

Make sure your fundraising campaign page is easy to share with designated buttons or calls to action. For example, on Neighbourly visitors are invited to share the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn below the ‘donate’ button. This offers another way to help if people don’t want to contribute financially, and prominent calls to action make it more likely to happen.

 

Scheduling and cross-posting 

Thankfully, we don’t need to set reminders for ourselves to tweet at 7am. Scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck can do all the hard work for us. There is some great data out there on the best times to post for different platforms, too. Plus, content on one platform can compliment another: your YouTube video is great content for your Twitter and (particularly) Facebook feeds, and with Instagram, you can automatically cross-post to the same platforms when you upload a photo. Three in one!

 

But…

Social media isn’t just about broadcasting

By all means, don’t be afraid to schedule the same tweet more than once. We all know that it in seconds it’ll get lost in the feed. But remember that making the most of social media is about making it a conversation. Get involved in Twitter chats, ask your audience questions and respond to their comments. Consider putting aside just a few minutes a day to do this.


Content

So, that’s the basics. What should you be posting about? Here are a few ideas: 


Tell stories, not press releases 

Compelling story telling motivated some 56% of people who supported non-profits. How do you tell stories? 

Say you need to raise £10,000 for a refurbishment. It’ll make a huge impact, but it doesn’t sound super inspiring in and of itself. Yes you’ll make a room look nicer or add in a kitchen, but what is so significant about this? Perhaps the new kitchen will provide a community space for your service users to socialize and feel at home. Show people why it’s important with an emotive video, or share quotes from people who’ve really benefited from your charity’s work accompanied by a picture of that person.

 

Appreciation 

Everyone loves feeling like their effort is being appreciated. Why not shout out a thank you to those who’ve donated by tagging them, or even just a general thank you to the donations you’ve got so far?

 

Keep followers in the loop 

Wow, you’ve raised £5,000 in only 48 hours! Or perhaps you’re half way to your target, or a mere £500 from reaching your goal – all these milestones call for an enthusiastic post. It’s a great way to build momentum and encourage further donations. You can keep track of your fundraising on Neighbourly with a barometer showing your progress.

 

A picture says 1,000 words 

You might have a few professional shots up your sleeve, but don’t be afraid to upload ‘everyday’ pictures too. Using the example of a refurbishment, you might take a picture of the room as it is now and say something like: “we can’t wait for this to be transformed! Help us get there” or “the kitchen is a bit squeezed at the moment, but we’re still helping vulnerable people have a sense of normality”. 



gen-trust=-lifeline-coffee


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly is a unique giving website that can help you raise funds, find local volunteers and make business connections. It's 100% free for charities - simply create a project to get started.

Jane

Content Manager

Oct 4, 2016

This incredible charity feeds 1000 people every single day!

Food For All

First of all, Happy Birthday! Food For All (FFA) are now celebrating 25 years! The content team at Neighbourly regularly have a read through the catalogue of amazing projects and every once in a while something catches one (or more) of our eight eyes. Today I’ve come across something I want to share with you - the Food For All project that does so much amazing work it just has to be celebrated!

'Food For All’ is a project with one key goal… zero hunger. Their journey is in full swing and it’s not just amazing when you look at the figures, it really is amazing! Presently they cook and distribute 1,000 meals per day and charge people absolutely nothing. They work tirelessly 6 days a week, all year round… providing about 30,000 meals each month! They are a regular collector of surplus food from M&S Borehamwood via the neighbourly platform. This, and other supermarket surplus schemes have helped FFA become more self-sufficient by using donated fruit and vegetables in the preparation of the meals - one of the staff told us that supermarket donations "are our lifeline, if they didn't give us anything we'd have to go buy it and we'd need massive cash donations".

Image

Although they are in different parts of the UK, FFA are based mainly in London, where they provide nutritionally balanced meals to help people facing issues such as homelessness or families with financial challenges, amongst other things. Feeding people in need isn’t FFA’s only goal though, the ethos of the charity is that of community, to encourage and enable communities to self-help, teach new skills and ultimately end social exclusion.

Within the last 24 strong years, Food For All has achieved great results, national awards, lots of recognition and it still offers a basic life line to the ever increasing disadvantaged people in the community. Due to the drastic cuts the project has become increasingly difficult to maintain, and they are in dire need of support from those who want to make a difference.

Image

Supermarkets and businesses that would like to help the project - please get in touch with us here at Neighbourly. Any individuals that would like to volunteer or make a donation can drop a note to the project through their Neighbourly news feed. They've had such great results and after 24 years of service no-one wants to see them go. Please help them to flourish and make that difference to your community.


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly connects charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, sharing or giving a day to volunteer.

Matt Aldus

Social Media Manager

Sep 30, 2016

How to Help Bath's Homeless and Actually Make a Remarkable Difference

Homelessness

Could you help homeless people in Bath for a mere £1?

Imagine not knowing where you were going to sleep tonight, or rummaging through a bin to find your next meal. As a World Heritage Site, you don’t expect Bath to have a homelessness problem, but five areas in the city are within the most deprived 20% of the country.

What if there was a safe haven where you could get warm, socialise, and have a nice hot drink? Somewhere you could access emergency food, clothing, tents, a decent pair of boots – and even a haircut.

Lifeline is this place - a Bath-based drop-in centre for homeless and vulnerably housed adults (who could be “sofa surfing”, living in local B&Bs or even the woods – hence the access to tents). Open five days a week, it's a place for people in hardship to have their basic needs met, along with a listening ear - with one-to-one advice from a supportive team on issues from benefits to rehab services. It’s one of ten projects run by the Genesis Trust, which has been working to alleviate poverty and hardship for local people in Bath since 1995.

Over 40 people use Lifeline daily, receiving a friendly welcome and a homely space to relax in for a few hours. A small team of three staff and 10 volunteers frequently go the extra mile for these vulnerable people, especially when they've been turned away by other agencies or have very complex problems. Here are a couple of first hand experiences:

“There’s always a sympathetic ear here, you don’t get judged - you get accepted at face value. Life Line has kept me alive and helped me out” Ellis, 48.

“I visited Genesis when I arrived in the city homeless and my shoes were worn out. I was given new boots and a rucksack and sleeping bag and a much needed cup of tea!" Pete, 29.

Lifeline has to move from its current base in Bath Abbey - by Christmas - to make way for building work. The Quakers have offered new premises at the Friend’s Meeting House, but the space requires substantial renovation and modernisation, which will cost £10,000 before it can become useable by visitors. Bath Abbey has been a fantastic base for this project and Lifeline wants its new centre to be equally welcoming.

Luckily, Lifeline has set up a three-month fundraising campaign right here on Neighbourly, to get in front of lovely, generous people like you!

With the funds, Lifeline will create:

  1. New toilets to accommodate the potential 40 people who use the service on a daily basis.

  2. An office/counselling room to provide one-to-one help.

  3. A clothing store for the city’s homeless to access outdoor wear, sleeping bags and tents

  4. Changes to the entrance/fire escape to bring it up to current safety standards.


So, how can you help? Follow the project, share on your social channels and donate, if you can – Lifeline are offering the chance to make a difference for one, gold £1 coin. Large or small, your donation will enable Lifeline to ensure it can continue making a huge difference to the lives of those living on the streets of Bath.

Victoria Knowles | Susty Girl

Neighbourly connects charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, sharing or giving a day to volunteer.

Aug 12, 2016